Desert Isle Keeper Review
December 2008, Colonial U.S. Romance (1750s America)
Leisure, $7.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 0843954892
Part of a series
A Colonial American setting allows for strong, rugged heroes; nasty villains; situations fraught with danger; and any type of heroine one could imagine. Pamela Clare has taken advantage of this little-used time period to create a powerful story about two people who discover love despite war and betrayal.
Amalie Chauvenet is the half Native American daughter of a French officer killed in battle at Fort Carillon by the infamous MacKinnonís Rangers. Nevertheless, when Morgan MacKinnon himself is gravely wounded and captured in battle a year later, she puts her personal feelings aside and works to save his life. His survival leaves Amalie in a moral quandary: How can she save a man who will surely be handed over to the tribe to be burned alive?
Forced to fight in a war for a king he doesnít support, Morgan MacKinnon would rather die of his wounds than be burned alive. However, when he finally regains consciousness thanks to the ministrations of his beautiful French nurse, he knows he must find the strength to escape his French captors and rejoin his men.
As Amalie cares for Morgan, even in his unconscious state, she realizes he is very much a man and an honorable gentleman. To her surprise, she learns that heís not an Englishman, but a Catholic Scot who, along with his brothers, fights because he was forced to. Amalie convinces her guardian to offer Morgan an alternative to death: If he trains French soldiers to fight like the Rangers and gives them English military secrets, he will be spared and have the honor to fight for a true Catholic King. Though he loathes making the agreement, Morgan realizes itís his only option as he waits for an opportunity to escape. However, his biggest danger is falling in love with Amalie and leaving her when the opportunity for escape presents itself.
Unfortunately, his English military commanders brand him a traitor when intercepted correspondence proves Morgan is alive. He has enemies among the French as well as among the English who both want to see him perish and he must find a way to preserve his honor and be with Amalie.
Morgan is an alpha male, but in good ways. Heís honorable and brave and, while he weaves a web of deceit, he feels a great amount of guilt for his actions. Amalie, on the other hand, is sheltered and naÔve as the result of being raised in a convent. She is complete innocence, but not in any TSTL way since for a portion of the story, she is out of her element and relies on Morgan. While this may make him appear to be domineering, I donít believe that itís the case since heís the one with experience and her reliance is only practical. These characters are so carefully drawn that by the end of the story, I knew them so well that I could hear their accents and sense their emotions.
I also felt that the book was true to the spirit of the historical period with the various characters, the conflicting loyalties of many of the colonists to the English military, the respect foes can have for their enemy, and the bonds created by blood and brotherhood. I also appreciated the strong religious element present for both the characters, something that would have been present in history but is often left out of historical romance. As the story ends, Morgan and Amalie are together and happy. However, not every situation within the story resolves completely, which is really the only problem I had while reading.
I felt truly invested in the characters in Untamed and found the time period captivating. Morgan has now taken the lead as my favorite hero of the year. I donít know how Iím going to be able to stand to wait until the third in this series comes out, but maybe going back to read the first will keep me content. For now however, writing the review has given me the desire to go and reread this one.
-- Heather Brooks
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